I'm sure we've all seen comments on YouTube or Twitter or Facebook along the lines of "This is exactly why I hate Christians etc... I might respect them if they didn't shove religion down their everyone's throat etc... they're all a bunch of hypocrites etc..." I know that haters are gonna hate, but this goes a little bit deeper than just being unkind or ignorant. I'm sure we've also seen the long arguments in the YouTube comments in which neither party convinces the other of their beliefs. If arguments are pointless, then what can you do? How do you change people's stereotypes of those who follow Christ?
I know that Jesus is a bit of a taboo today because of the whole "not wanting to offend others" argument, but so is following Jesus. I know that it could be worse (we could be getting thrown into pits of hungry lions for our beliefs) but it's still not easy to follow Christ. Does anyone have any ideas about how we can change how the world views the followers of Christ? (well maybe not the whole world but at least a little part of it)
i think i might have a unique take on some of this as, for all intents and purposes, i'm still a baby Christian...well, ok, a toddler. i've had at least one foot in the shoes of some of these people you're talking about...i still wish there weren't so many hypocrits contributing to the poor opinions of us. ultimately though, it seems to me the best way to change people's opinions of us isn't to try, but to simply continue to work on ourselves and our relationship with Jesus. if i'm actually a good Christian it should show.
that's awesome that you have a glimpse into the eyes on the other side of the argument. When you were on the other side, what kind of things did you notice about Christians that may have brought you to Christ. In essence, how did their relationship with Jesus show?
wanted to give this question some time. because we're all individuals, with unique relations with the world and with God (both in the fundamental nature of them and in terms of how much one has progressed in their spiritual journey) all sorts of traits manifest. a number showed (well, show, really) great assurance/peace-of-mind/serenity. a lot of those who i think have the right relationship display the kind of caring/compassion i hope i have when i'm at my best.
and while this might not help relating to those who are honestly offended by us (or at least people who claim the title, but seem to have no more realationship to Jesus than to a bit of dust on the other side of the Milkyway) ... (and while i know it sounds goofy) in true nerdy fashion, there's something to be said about being around someone who is unironically enthusiastic about the guy.
Those are traits that Jesus talked about as well. Those are excellent insights! Thank you very much!
one is glad to be of service.
an addendum: was talking to my brother today about something that sort of ties into this. we need to keep in mind when we come across people spewing any sort of negativity that it may not even be indicative of them most of the time, just of their particular reaction to the moment (and pos any number of terrible moments leading up to it) and even those who are typically negative about x are often just a rather aggressive/confrontational minority.
Not wanting to offend others is a pretty American mindset. If you look at the life of Jesus, he was radical and he was VERY offensive (hence, you know, the crucifixion. People didn't like him very much.) If we speak the truth and share God's word, we WILL offend people, and if you're worried about making people mad, you're doing the Christian thing wrong.
I don't personally feel that the examples you shared go beyond being unkind and ignorant. A lot of Christians ARE jerks and shove religion down people's throats and the Christians that are prominent in the media ARE hypocrites and don't practice what they preach. If this is what the "haters" have experienced, naturally they are going to express their opinion. They may not express it in a way that you are comfortable with, but you are right - it could be way worse.
If a person has a deep conviction about this topic, you WILL NOT change their mind, so getting into a long, drawn out argument is a waste of your time. Honestly, having a discussion like that over text on the internet is a bad idea in the first place. Concepts can be misconstrued, and everyone will just end up angry with each other.
The best way to change how people view the followers of Christ is to ACT like a good follower of Christ in front of them. People WILL see a difference in you if you're following Jesus the way you should be. In high school all my friends were atheists, and every last one of them told me that I was the first Christian they had ever met that they could tolerate because I didn't shove it down their throats, I wasn't a hypocrite, and I listened to what they believed while always standing by what I believed.
Hope this helped.
It did help :) just a little thing though. Jesus may have been a radical and offended many people, but those people were religious. They were the Pharisees. They were also the ones who pissed Jesus off the most. I'm not worried about offending people in as much as I'm worried that they will think I'm a hypocrite as well. Naturally none of us our perfect, so whenever we make mistakes people will jump on top of it and say that we don't practice what we preach. How can we act enough like Jesus to show people that you really are trying?
I think you're stressing a little too much, to be honest.
If you make a mistake and someone jumps down your throat and calls you a hypocrite, that's THEIR problem, not yours. A mistake is called a mistake for a reason - if it's really a mistake, then there is remorse involved. Hypocrites usually know exactly what they're doing and they do it anyway. If the person getting angry at you can't tell the difference, they are the issue, not you. You can only do so much.
That makes sense :) thank you so much for your advice!
If it's on the internet I ignore it. If it's in real life, I be myself. I have Scripture tattoo'd on my arms, pray in public, and avoid swearing in a pretty swear-heavy work environment. Those things set me apart as a "Christian" it's up to me follow through with loving others as God loves them. As I see it, things are a lot easier when you remember that everyone (even Hitler, Bin Laden, and those people that get on your nerves) are created in the image of God, and that is not something to be taken lightly.
The thing about the way the world views things is that it is comprised of the way that individuals see things. Focus on changing that and the world will change.
(I'll admit that in my opinion separation of Church and state is good for Christianity's PR. The Crusades couldn't have happened if Christianity wasn't a state religion.)
Wow! That's awesome that you can stick with your faith in that type of atmosphere! I'll try to do those things as well (apart from tattooing scriptures on my arm. I'm not opposed to tattoos. I think they're cool! But my mom doesn't appreciate them and she would kill me :) Thank you for your advice!
I think that many people have one, negative image of what Christians are like, that we think we are better than others and think we know whats right. I'm a Christian, but I DO NOT think that everyone who isn't is going to Hell. Some people are suprised when I say that I am a Christian but I support gay rights(I'm straight, but because thats what I am, not because I think I have to in order to be a good person.) Mostly I think that being a Christian just means trying to live your life following Jesus, being nice to everyone and trying to be a good person. It's true that there are a lot of Christians who try to press their beliefs on everyone, and say exactly how you should live. I think more people who say they follow Christ should just live their lives in his image, and more people will see that not all of us think that we are better, and that maybe it's just a good way to live.